Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn reported a surge in ticket sales for England’s friendly against France – something he feels demonstrates a determination among football fans to show solidarity in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
England host France on Tuesday in the aftermath of Friday’s events in Paris that led to the deaths of 129 people.
Respects will be paid to the victims and their families before kick-off at Wembley, where the words to La Marseillaise will be shown on stadium screens for home supporters in attendance – including FA president the Duke of Cambridge Prince William – to join in with a the pre-match rendition.
Armed police will patrol outside the ground before and during the match and Glenn conceded he was unsure how the public would react to their presence, although he suggested enthusiasm for the match is strong on the evidence of rising gate receipts.
“I really can’t tell how individuals will react,” said Glenn, when asked about the armed presence at a media conference.
“What I can say is we’ve sold a lot of tickets for the game. We’ve sold a lot more over the weekend, which would suggest there is an alternative reaction [to the terror attacks] – people are determined to show their solidarity and want to come.
“I can only look at the facts and say, just based on ticket sales, that a number more people wanted to come than you might have thought.”
Glenn concurred with this apparent sentiment, stating that the match would be an important global event in defiance of terrorism.
“This is going to have massive global significance – the first major event since Friday,” he said. “It is a chance to demonstrate terrorism can’t win. We can’t afford to let this act of terror cow us.”
Glenn urged fans to arrive at the ground early due to increased security checks and also to play a full part in the pre-match tributes.
“The match starts at five to eight, not eight o’clock. We want to demonstrate our solidarity, our country’s solidarity with France,” he added. “There are a couple of things we will be doing before the match starts.
“We’ll be all singing or all trying to sing La Marseillaise – we’ll be singing it in French or our version of French. We think that will be a powerful thing.”
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